A radical transformation of the cycling environment in Limerick is a major part of a draft Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) which has been published by the country’s National Transport Authority (NTA) alongside Limerick City and County Council, Clare County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
A 184km cycling network is being suggested, of which 103km is to be cycle tracks and greenways that are segregated from traffic. The strategy includes plans for a fully-connected high-quality cycle network linking all major origins and destinations within the area and an inter-urban network connecting Limerick City and metropolitan town centres.
The strategy plans to ‘radically transform’ the cycling environment so that anyone of any age will feel safe and confident enough to cycle to work, school, college and other activities. The predicts that this will lead to a boom in the numbers of people cycling within Limerick City and suburbs, Shannon and other towns and villages.
The plan also includes a detailed BusConnects proposals that will include improvements to bus priority via the reallocation of road space, investment in Advance Bus Signalisation, development of bus gates, and the acquisition of land to accommodate bus lanes where required. “The flexibility of buses means that routes and frequencies can be quickly adapted to support phases of new development or as circumstances dictate. Buses will also perform an increasingly important role as Park and Ride facilities are developed,” the NTA said.
The strategy also includes proposals for various road schemes, including the changes needed for road reallocation for cycling, walking and public transport use.
The National Planning Framework 2040 (NPF) said that the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area (LSMA) will become the growth engine of the Mid-West Region with projected growth of at least 50 per cent during the period up to 2040.
Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer, NTA said: “The Strategy we are presenting is a potential game-changer for the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area. We want to make it easier for people to get around by reducing congestion, and to make this place more attractive for people who live here, work here, or who want to visit here. We also want to make sure that more and more people will have a sustainable alternative when it comes to transport.”
Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive, Limerick City and County Council said: “The new transport strategy for Limerick is an ambitious project that will help transform Limerick into a sustainable city, with cycling, walking and public transport key elements.”
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council said: “Clare County Council is fully supportive of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) and will continue to assist the NTA in its development.
“In the coming years, once complete, this Strategy will be used to inform and prioritise funding for transport infrastructure in the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area as the major growth engine for the Mid-West.”